HARD LUCK by Jeff Kinney


From the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, volume 8
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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In this eighth outing for Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley, he copes with the aftereffects of having unwittingly matched up best friend Rowley with Abigail in his previous outing (The Third Wheel, 2012).

Readers who have experienced the ebbs and flows of middle school friendships might be inclined to feel sorry for Greg, except that all his reasons for his new unhappiness are so characteristically selfish. With Rowley gaga over Abigail, Greg now has to walk to school alone, losing his dog-poop scout and pack horse, for instance. Readers will have to squint between the lines for evidence of real emotion. As always, Kinney gets in a dig or two at the idiocies of modern education, snarking at ball-game bans in the name of safety and lame efforts to reduce bullying. Also as always, the plot meanders, taking Greg and readers from the middle school ecosystem to Easter at Gramma’s for a look at extended-family anthropology before tackling science-fair stress. Greg’s reliance on a Magic 8 Ball for all decision-making is good for some yuks, as is his discovery of a secret shelf of parenting books in the back of his mom’s closet: Tellingly, amid such titles as Making Them Love Reading, Taming Your Defiant Child and Parenting Picky Eaters is Raising Decent Human Beings.

By the end of the book, Greg may have taken a microscopic step or two toward becoming a decent human being, but as usual, it’s mostly despite his best efforts. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4197-1132-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:

Kirkus Interview
Jeff Kinney
author of THE LONG HAUL
November 12, 2014

A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun…unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys of Jeff Kinney’s famous Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget. We talk to Kinney on Kirkus TV this week about the wild success of the Wimpy Kid books and his latest in the series, The Long Haul. View video >


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